Connecting Across Chapters: How to Host a Relationship-Building Workshop

Photo courtesy of Lindsey Young.
Photo courtesy of Lindsey Young.

It’s a new school year, a new executive board and a new start for every PRSSA Chapter. How can a Chapter spice things up to keep its members interested and engaged? The answer lies in what public relations students do best – communication. Or more specifically, communication between Chapter.

The University of Alabama PRSSA Chapter hosted a region-wide leadership workshop on Sept. 10. PRSSA Chapters from across Alabama and nearby states were invited to this free event to meet, collaborate and exchange ideas on what has worked well for their Chapter. Each Chapter left feeling motivated by new ideas and supported by their fellow PRSSA members.

“It [the workshop] inspires Chapters to have a great year and to know they aren’t alone,” said Olivia Ortiz, PRSA liaison for The University of Alabama PRSSA Chapter.

PRSA members from across the state were also invited to attend. This mixture of students and professionals made the workshop so beneficial. The PRSA members gave the students insight about the professional world; in return, the students shared new and innovative ideas with the PRSA members.

If your Chapter would like to host its own leadership workshop, there are several steps to take in the planning process.

  1. Start Early: First, you need to begin planning in May or earlier for a September event. The extra time is necessary to pay attention to every detail. Plus, it helps you to plan around those pesky fall football schedules.
  2. Create an Event Committee: An event of this size would be practically impossible for one person to coordinate. So the only option is teamwork. Form an event committee and distribute the workload. You could even form subcommittees for each task, such as a committee for planning the theme and activities, one for contacting other schools’ Chapters and one for contacting professionals within the area.
  3. Get People to Attend: We all know that workshops mean nothing without attendees. Contact other Chapters early and maintain communication. Sometimes getting noticed means walking the fine line between being persistent and being annoying. Be prepared to answer a lot of emails, make phone calls and get last-minute confirmations from attendees. Even if some Chapters cannot attend, you can create summary sheets recapping the event to send to all invited Chapters. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will be worth it when you see a room full of enthusiastic PRSSA members ready to grow and connect with each other.
  4. Get in Touch with Professionals: The best way to get in touch with professionals is to form a close relationship with your PRSA liaison. Consider creating a PRSA Liaison position within your executive board to do this. They can help you maintain the connection between PRSA professionals and your Chapter even after the workshop has finished. Once your Chapter’s liaison has established connections, that person will have plenty of professional contacts and is more likely to get a response when emailing about the workshop.
  5. Relax: On the day of the workshop, take a deep breath and enjoy it. This is your Chapter’s event and you should be proud. Every attendee will leave with ideas, inspiration and new relationships to propel them and their Chapter into a fantastic semester.

How do you think hosting an event like this can benefit your Chapter?

Bethany Corne is the publications committee leader for the University of Alabama PRSSA and a digital strategist at the Capstone Agency. Connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at

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